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Unforgettable Fiji: Day Trips From Nadi to Islands, Beaches & Gardens

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Updated: 18th February 2024

Powder-soft, sugar-white sands, lapping cyan waters, and timeless traditions make Fiji an ideal island-hopping escape. But if you’d prefer to base yourself in Nadi, Fiji’s main gateway on the island of Viti Levu, you can easily experience some of Fiji’s best islands on day trips.

From the very first Bula! (meaning life, and the go-to greeting here), to the laid-back, archipelago-wide ‘Fiji-time’ that will soothe you out of any stress from home, you can unwind as easily in a resort as on a yacht trip around the archipelago. Especially as smiles crack as often as coconuts here

But Fiji isn’t exactly famed for being the cheapest of destinations, and taking private transfers around the more luxurious islands can quickly add up. As such, not straying far from the airport can be tempting. Whether you base yourself on the resort-heavy Denarau Island, pick an affordable hostel near Nadi, or stay at my favourite, the First Landing Beach Resort further up the coast – it has a foot-shaped island and shaded bungalows – these Fijian day trips will allow you to experience everything the archipelago others. From sailing trips on catamarans to scuba adventures and mud-heavy thermal pools, here are all the fantastic day trips I took from Nadi.

The foot-shaped island at First Landing Beach Resort
The foot-shaped island at First Landing Beach Resort

Castaway Island

An island escape doesn’t get much more pristine than Castaway Island, and for the most part, you’ll need to cough up to stay in one of the private islands’ beautiful Bures and enjoy an indulgent Fijian stay. However, a limited number of day visitors are allowed to alight on these paradisical sands and enjoy everything the resort has to offer.

Castaway Island Fiji
The paradise-like Castaway Island Beach Resort

From snorkelling along the coral reefs and strolling through the forested hills to lounging in the shaded pools or sipping a cool one in the bar below Tom Hank’s oar from the film of the same name, a few hours here will have you relaxed and rejuvenated. But don’t get this confused with uninhabited Modrik Island, where the actual film was set, or you might inadvertently end up trespassing here, courtesy of some local fishermen, as I did.

Instead, take a day trip to Qalito Island (the official name of Castaway Island) to enjoy everything it offers. You should absolutely book your day trip to Castaway Island in advance, as it’s popular and numbers are limited so as not to infringe on the resort’s guests. But once here, you’ll have no regrets – and it saves you forking out for a luxury suite.

Robinson Crusoe Island Nadi
Kava Ceremony on Robinson Crusoe Island

Robinson Crusoe Island

This palm-fringed spec of sand, officially Likuri Island, is a fantastic place to stay a few nights and soak up the island life. Known as Robinson Crusoe Island, the accommodation on offer here is excellent value when compared to some of the other island resorts. Sadly, since my visit a few years back, they have got rid of their dorm rooms, which were a wallet-friendly way to live the island life. Still, the private rooms still don’t break the bank.

If you aren’t staying here, then it makes for an excellent late afternoon day trip from Nadi. On the popular sunset sailing visit to Robison Cruise Island, you’ll glide through jungle-shrouded waters before reaching the island, where a serenade of meke dancers and musicians awaits.

Robinson Crusoe Island Fiji
Fire dancing on Robinson Crusoe Island

You’ll have a bit of time to enjoy the island, take a dip, and watch the sunset from underneath a gently swaying palm tree before the evening’s entertainment begins. Including a Kava welcoming ceremony, more dancing, fire performances and a vast buffet cooked traditionally in an underground Lovo. All in all, I found it a really decent value excursion, given everything that is included.

Just know that this day trip from Nadi requires a bus transfer that adds an extra hour or so on – the jetty through the jungle-edged waters is a bit away from Nadi itself. It’s also fair to say it’s a relatively tourist-primed event rather than raw and authentic, but if you want to experience all of the above and don’t have much time, it’s a solid choice for a cracking night out.

Head to a floating bar on a day trip from Nadi
Head to a floating bar on a day trip from Nadi

Cloud Nine Bar

This bar is nowhere near the clouds, nor is it near anything else. A large wooden deck, complete with a bar and daybeds, Cloud Nine Bar floats in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by a multitude of cerulean-hued waters. Its main draw is the sheer coolness of being able to sip a cocktail, listen to a DJ, and grab a pizza before jumping off the bar into the bath-like waters below, the pretty Mamanuca Islands in the distance.

We rocked up here with our fisherman friends and went onto the floating platform for a few drinks and a quick visit (which, I think, is allowed if you randomly happen to be passing through the middle of nowhere and need a beer), so this might be an option if you don’t want to dedicate a whole day here. However, most people book this day trip from Denarau Island. Given Cloud Nine was so popular, it’s no surprise that a second floating bar now exists, the Seventh Heaven Floating Bar and Restaurant, and day trips to this one can be slightly cheaper.

Private island Fiji
Take a day trip to private Savala Island

Savala Island

Without a doubt, Savala was one of my favourite islands that we visited on a day trip from Denarau Island. It’s remote, peaceful, and lapped by the most inviting of turquoise waters. On the boat ride here, guitars playing and free beers flowing, I was already in my element, and that’s before I spotted the tiny isle in the distance.

With an unlimited, all-inclusive bar, excellent lunch buffet, sea kayaks, snorkelling gear and even a massage tent, you can pamper yourself, tan yourself or head straight into the water for your entertainment. There isn’t much shade here, so pac your sunscreen, but if you want a get-away-from-it-all island escape, book OoLaLa’s day trip to Savala Island.

Four of us hired a small boat for a day trip to Bounty Island
Four of us hired a small boat for a day trip to Bounty Island

Bounty Island

Bounty Island was the set for one of the first Celebrity Love Island seasons more than a decade ago. Being relatively close to Viti Levu and having a resort, it’s also a popular place to stay. However, if you want to visit on a day trip from Nadi, it’s also possible – and given it only takes around 30 minutes by boat, it’s one of the quickest you can take.

White sands, palms and everything else you’d expect are found here. There are also some excellent snorkelling and scuba diving trips off the island, making it a popular, easy-access island for spotting marine life. Families will also appreciate the facilities, entertainment, and water sports that are readily available. You can either book a short day trip if you don’t have much time or opt for this longer day trip from Nadi that sails between a few of the Mamanuca Islands with lunch and water sports included.

Boat Trip nadi
Hiring a local boat and stringing together sand bars was a dreamy outing

Do it yourself!

There are so many different day trips from Nadi and Denaru Island to countless other islands that it can be hard to choose, and the costs can quickly add up. An alternative, which we did for a couple of days, was to befriend some local fishermen who were already going out anyway, and we offered a fair price to join them on their fishing trip.

These two days were my highlights in Fiji. Not only did we get to chat and connect with the two young guys – and try to help them fish – but we ended up visiting random spots, stopping at tiny little sandbars while they headed off with their rods, and combining a few islands into one day.

Stopping at tiny sandbars is a Fiji day trip highlight
Stopping at tiny sandbars is a Fiji day trip highlight

Nadi’s markets and temples

Nadi Town is a relatively sleepy place, but you should absolutely not miss taking a day trip into Nadi itself to see the local fresh produce markets and craft stalls and sip on a criminally cheap coconut. It’s best to try and avoid the day’s cruise ships are in town, as then it can be crowded. But this is a decent Fiji day outing as you can just hop in a local taxi, no tour needed.

Get your driver to also take you to the small Sri Siva Subramaniya Hindu temple, a quick stop will be enough time to visit.

My travel buddy Simla and a local artisan in Nadi's markets
My travel buddy Simla and a local artisan in Nadi’s markets

Nadi Hot Springs

For a different kind of water relaxation, venture to the Sabeto Hot Springs and mud pools. It’s a decent half-day trip from Nadi. After a short drive, you’ll arrive at the laid-back venue where a handful of sellers hawk their local goods, and bubbling hot springs sit nearby. Given the temperature of the springs themselves, the water is filtered into a collection of pools, which you dive into after caking your body in the warm mud, baking it out to dry and then washing it off.

Don’t go expecting a full-blown spa-style site, as this is anything but that. It’s just a cool thing to do, and the people working there were a friendly bunch, and they had a super playful dog. No need to pay for a high-priced tour, just jump in a taxi and pay when you arrive. If you’d prefer to book a day tour from Denarau Island, then this tour takes in the town’s highlights, including the hot springs, gardens and the temple.

Mud Pools Nadi
Soaking in the Nadi Hot Springs

Gardens of the Sleeping Giant

Another popular day trip from Nadi is the nearby Gardens of the Sleeping Giant. It’s a lush landscaped garden area with native, colourful flowers and shaded trails around a legendary dormant volcanic crater. You could use your taxi to do both the hot springs and gardens together.

Beyond the gardens, and something you might want to book a tour in advance for is the zip-lining and waterfalls located nearby. I didn’t personally bother with this as I’d heard the zip-line wasn’t that impressive and wanted to save my cash. But if you are interested, you’ll find more details here.

Sleeping Giant Fiji
The peaceful Sleeping Giant Gardens

Want to island-hop on a budget?

Another alternative, if you want to island-hop without such high costs, is to look at Feejee Experience. It’s far from a luxury operator and is more targeted at backpackers, but its travel passes and wallet-friendly options will allow you to visit a selection of islands without paying a small fortune.

Overall, Fiji is a bit pricey – and flights from Australia and New Zealand can be the biggest investment of the trip. I actually flew from Singapore, and the direct flights with Fiji Airways were surprisingly cheaper from there than the nearer nations.

Accommodation doesn’t need to be too expensive, though. After my friends had departed, and we were no longer splitting the cost of Bures between four, I went and checked into the very good value Tropic of Capricorn hostel. I only found this place by asking around about hostels, as it wasn’t listed on the major booking site – so do shop around if you want to find a decent deal. Sure, the beach there isn’t one of Fiji’s finest, but it made for an affordable base to extend my holiday and take a couple more day trips from Nadi to other islands.

However you explore Fiji, I hope it gives you the same permanent grin that it gifted me. There’s something very special about this archipelago – and a visit really doesn’t need to be as expensive as you’d imagine one of the world’s best beach destinations to be.

Fiji Day Trips
Diving into crystal-clear waters from a boat – Fiji doesn’t get much better than this.
15 replies
  1. MyLine says:

    My friends and I were planning a trip to Fiji this fall, it was originally this summer but oh well due to the COVID-19 pandemic our trip is moved, and will probably continue to be moved if the situation continues to worsen. Thanks for this post I really learned a lot about how to be efficient in spending our trip and I gained a lot of new information regarding Fiji on Nadi Day for our upcoming trip!

  2. Sabrina says:

    This was so insightful and helpful. Many people have told me Nadi is the worst and you can’t do anything, but I feel much better about my trip after reading this.

  3. kesari says:

    Nice post. I am just going to have a trip to fiji and i am really very motivated by this post. I will share it my friends which are going with me.

  4. Nadya says:

    This is such a great post! Very informative, and the photos are incredible! Though you did say that Fiji is a bit pricey, how much would you recommend for a daily budget? I understand that there are a lot of other factors, just trying to figure out the minimum amount I need. Thanks!

  5. Diego Johnson says:

    Amazing post.Love reading your blog.Pictures are stunning.I would love to visit here with my friend.Thanks for sharing this post with us.Keep sharing.

  6. Amit Mind says:

    Thank you DAN so much for sharing this Fiji trip guide and pictures. You really motivate me to explore Fiji in coming Months.

  7. H says:

    Thanks for sharing this tips, i am just going to have a trip to fiji and i am really very motivated by this post. I will share it my friends which are going with me.

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